jonjon box ti sak.
Leili júntul u puksík’aloob.
tak u chen janal kastlan pek’ka manik.
ka chen jósil tak xínxinbal ti k’íuik.
ka takchatik máalix pek’ yétel a p’ek.
bey a uol tu man ta pach tiólal le bak má tan a puliktío.
Má a uójel ua le pek’a
kímil ku man tu pach a bákel.
They have the same heart.
only buy food for the purebred dog.
even take him for a walk on the square.
kick the stray dog with scorn.
think he walks behind you for the bone you don’t throw him.
You don’t know that this dog
is death walking behind your bones.
Ku yálale pek’e ku yok’ol chíbal ken u yil u k’asil baal.
Sajkilé tu póch’il,
tu ch’in túnich tí ek’joch’énil.
Ak’abe tu yok’ol chíbal.
Sajkilé tu dzon ich ek’joch’énil,
ok’ol chíbale xexet’paj yétel u chun u nak’ ak’áb.
juntul uínik jak’án u yol u ch’uk k’ak’ ichoob tí ek’joch’énil.
júntul pek’ tu tzikbaltik u muk’yaj ti ek’oob.
They say the dog howls when he sees the devil.
he throws stones in the darkness.
The night howls.
Fear fires in the darkness,
the howl is destroyed with the belly of the night.
is a man terrified by the red fire of some eyes in the darkness.
a dog who tells the stars of his suffering.
¿Máax ku tich’ik chuchul uaj yétel u xdzik k’ab,
ku jósik u xnoj k’ab u tial u jadz?
Pek’ má ta p’atik a yúmil,
Pek’ má ta chíik a yúmil,
Pek’ a yama a yúmil:
majant a uak’ti uínik,
tiólal u choj xan u k’a u chí,
ka u ch’ul luum,
ka u pak’, je bix teché, u náatil kuxtal.
Majant a uich ti uínik,
tiólal u pákat yétel a k’om ólal.
Majant a nej ti uínik
tiólal u bik’ibik’tik, yétel a kímak ólal.
kun alak ti: KS, KS, KS;
tiólal u tákik ichil u yok yétel a sútal,
kun alak ti: B’J, B’J, B’J.
Majant a ní ti uínik,
tiólal u yusnítik utz yan chen tu k’ab chichán pal.
majant a dzaay tí uínik,
tiólal u chíik u túkul.
Who is he who holds out the stale tortilla with his left hand
raises his right hand to strike?
Dog, don’t you abandon your owner,
dog, don’t you bite your lord,
dog, you love your master:
lend your tongue to the man,
so the drool drips down him too,
so it wets the earth,
and sows, like you, the understanding of existence.
Lend your eyes to the man,
so he sees with your sadness.
Lend your tail to the man,
so he wags it with joy
when they call him: KS, KS, KS;
so he tucks it between his legs with your shame
when they tell him: B’J, B’J, B’J;
lend him your nose
so he sniffs the goodness that only exists in the hands of a child.
lend him your teeth
so he bites his own conscience.
Yoonji xch’úpul pek’.
Dzok u yálankal.
Tu síaj mejen malix pek’oob,
u mejen pek’oob laj t’ot’oob ti ich kaj.
Ka jop’ x-al pek’ u yok’ol auat ti yam bejoob tadz ák’ab.
Ka chakchaj u yich,
jálibe ka ch’apachtabi,
mi tuklaj dzu ch’áik k’asil,
letíe kim u yojli maakoob chokochaj u póloob.
The bitch got pregnant.
She had her litter.
She birthed stray puppies,
puppies that were spread out through the village.
And the mother bitch set about howling down the alleys every night.
Her eyes got red
and she was chased away,
maybe they thought she had rabies,
she died knowing that people were the ones who had lost their minds.
Translated by Arthur Dixon
From the verse collection U yok’ol auat pek’ ti kuxtal pek’ / El quejido del perro en su existencia [The growl of the dog in its existence]
Briceida Cuevas Cob is a poet and cultural promoter. In 1995, she published the verse collection U yok’ol auat pek’ ti kuxtal pek’ / El quejido del perro en su existencia [The growl of the dog in its existence], which recreates the life of the Maya people through one of its harshest facets: violence against stray dogs, or malixes in Maya-influenced Yucatec Spanish. In 1996, she published the verse collection Je’ bix k’in / Como el Sol [Like the sun], which collections experiences of everyday life in a village and pays homage to the women who pass down Maya traditions. Her 2008 book Ti’ u billil in nook’ / Del dobladillo de mi ropa [From the hem of my clothes] recreates the life of Maya women, referring to ancestral knowledge and revealing the tensions between the traditional and the modern, between Maya society and detribalized societies. Her work has also appeared in many journals and anthologies. Her poetry presents women from small communities in everyday situations: women who experience pleasure and suffering, who live closely connected to nature and the traditional society of their communities. Her work also recalls the Maya tradition of identifying the soul in beings that other communities see as inanimate, giving rise to a harmonious relationship between human beings and the natural world.
Arthur Malcolm Dixon is co-founder, lead translator, and Managing Editor of Latin American Literature Today. He has translated the novels Immigration: The Contest by Carlos Gámez Pérez and There Are Not So Many Stars by Isaí Moreno (Katakana Editores), as well as the verse collection Intensive Care by Arturo Gutiérrez Plaza (Alliteratïon). He also works as a community interpreter in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is a 2020-2021 Tulsa Artist Fellow.
LALT No. 6 goes from the gripping true stories of literary journalism to the strange worlds of fantastic short stories and graphic literature. We highlight chronicles by Colombian journalist Alberto Salcedo Ramos, speculative fiction in a dossier curated by Mexican writer Alberto Chimal, and Yucatec Maya poetry and prose in our ongoing Indigenous Literature series.